Luxembourg stood still for the funeral of Grand Duke Jean, who died April 23rd at the age of 98.
The nation and its Grand Ducal family paid their respects to a monarch, a war hero, a father, and grandfather. [Read more…]
The Quest For Queen Mary
James Pope-Hennessy | Edited by Hugo Vickers
Author and royalty expert Hugo Vickers brings us an exciting new book from the research of James Pope-Hennessy. The Quest for Queen Mary encapsulates Pope-Hennessy’s extensive research notes and interviews he conducted to write Queen Mary’s official biography. The biography was published in 1959 to wide acclaim.
Thanks to Vickers and the publishing house Zuleika, we now know what it was like behind the scenes as Pope-Hennessy navigated his way through royal etiquette, cautious courtiers, and years of history through German, Danish, and Norwegian royal eyes.
Getting to Know You
Queen Mary was seen as extraordinarily regal, bejeweled, and rather stiff. But what was she really like? In Quest, we get a real sense of her private life and her personality from those who knew her as Princess May, daughter of the German Duke and Duchess of Teck. Those who remembered her as a young, newly married Duchess of York. Those who remembered a world of a bygone era. They don’t disappoint.
A surprise or two is revealed, and various people help unwrap Mary’s character development – her shyness, her relationship with her children and her husband, and her habits. How she became a curious mix of kind and generous, but also selfish and remote.
So royals are human after all, despite the pomp and circumstance. Underneath the mountain of jewels, Mary was a complex character. Other royals prove to be similarly human. While setting up an interview with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Pope-Hennessy noted that royalty are not as intimidating as one would expect – the air of terror is produced largely from the fretting, deferential courtiers. Once you meet the royal in person, you realize that they are “not like others”, but one can “get on with the species, like an ornithologist making friends with some wild duck.”
Other “wild ducks” with whom we could get on provide their own delightful background, too, not just on Queen Mary. Pope-Hennessy brings us Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia, Crown Prince Olav of Norway, and the king and queen of Sweden. All are fascinating, and Pope-Hennessy’s interactions delightful.
And those courtiers provide their own round of interesting moments. Pope-Hennessy got right to the heart of all the people he could find, not just the royals, and it is a treasure.
Pièce de Résistance
Hugo Vickers’s own literary background and deft editorial skill adds clarity to The Quest for Queen Mary. Whatever Pope-Hennessy didn’t include is clarified by Vickers, who explains titles, places, and names for anyone not familiar with deeper royal history.
I highly recommend The Quest for Queen Mary. What Pope-Hennessy found throughout his journey is truly a behind-the-scenes look at a gilded royal world that is no more. What will you think of it? Will you be glad it’s gone, or will you wish for its return? Will you like Queen Mary more, or less?
Not only did Pope-Hennessy find depth to Queen Mary, but also to other royals along the way, and what they thought of events of their day. Vickers provides those delicious details on titles, dates, and people. You couldn’t ask for more in a book about royalty.
A prolific writer esteemed for his wit and clarity, Pope-Hennessy was best known for his official biography on Queen Mary. His career produced many great books, including Pope-Hennessy’s first, “London Fabric”, a study of London architecture; “Queen Victoria at Windsor and Balmoral”; “Lord Crewe, the Likeness of Liberal”; and a biography of the English novelist Anthony Trollope.
The son of an Army general, Pope?Hennessy was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and began his career as an editorial assistant at a publishing house. He was the brother of Sir John Pope-Hennessy, renowned historian and museum curator.
Pope-Hennessy was killed in 1974 after an intruder attacked him in his home. At the time of his death, Pope-Hennessy was working on research for an official biography on Sir Noel Coward.
Hugo Vickers is a writer, lecturer, and broadcaster. He has written biographies of many twentieth century figures, including the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, and Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece.
Vickers has lectured all over the world, and some lectures have had the attendance of royals, including HM King Constantine of Greece, HRH The Duke of Kent, and HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent.
After saying farewell to the Swedish royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued their Scandinavian tour next door in Norway.
Upon disembarking from their plane, the royal couple were greeted by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and his wife, Crown Princess Mette Marit.
On their Norwegian agenda: a meeting with young entrepreneurs, a tour of a sculpture park, and meeting members of the public.
Continuing on her purpose to highlight mental health, the Duchess, with the Duke, visited the Hartvig Nissen School located in Oslo. The royal pair were there to learn about the popular teen drama ‘Skam’ that deals with heavy issues such as mental illness and other difficult topics.
The crowds – plus the stars of ‘Skam’ – were all delighted to see Kate and William in their capital city.
The Duke and Duchess also toured a sculpture park with the Crown Princess and her daughter, Princess Ingrid-Alexandra. Kate wrapped up in a fur hat and gloves – William braved the elements hatless.
I dag snakket Hertugparet og Kronprinsparet om ungdom og psykisk helse med elever fra Hartvig Nissens skole. Det var her den populære SKAM-serien ble spilt inn, som beskriver en del av de utfordringer som unge mennesker står overfor i dag. Foto: Kensington Palace #royalvisitnorway #offisieltbesøk #hertugparet #kronprinsparet #dukeofcambridge #duchessofcambridge #hartvignissensskole #SKAM #elever #ungdomogpsykiskhelse #psykiskhelse
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Prins William og Hertuginne Catherine ledsages gjennom Prinsesse Ingrid Alexandras Skulpturpark av Prinsessen og Dronningen sammen med Kronprinsparet. Her under skulpturen Roggbif. Foto: Gorm Kallestad, NTB Scanpix. #royalvisitnorway #dukeofcambridge #duchessofcambridge #kongefamilien #prinsesseingridalexandra #skulpturpark #offisieltbesøk #slottsparken
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The evening saw the royals gather for a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Oslo with King Harald V and Queen Sonja, along with Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit. Also joining the esteemed group was Princess Martha Louise, Haakon’s sister, who excitedly posted her makeup and hairstyle on Instagram prior to the event. The King’s sister Princess Astrid was also in attendance.
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Prinsesse Märtha Louise og Prinsesse Astrid, fru Ferner på ankommer kveldens smokingmiddag på Slottet. Foto: Lise Åserud, NTB Scanpix #royalvisitnorway #dukeofcambridge #duchessofcambridge #kongefamilien #smokingmiddag #offisieltbesøk #slottet
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It’s fantastic to see William and Kate meeting with fellow royals. Being able to mingle with those who are close to their age in a similar position reminds them of the gravitas they’re supposed to bring to their own roles.
William has looked nervous at a few points during Swedish part of the tour, but his speech at the dinner in Oslo was very well done. Kate has looked incredibly polished and engaged, and despite the lack of tiaras, the jewels on hand were stunning. Things looked great when Kate went to the Netherlands and met King Willem-Alexander – that polished professional is still shining, I’m happy to see.
Gone, I believe, are the days of Kate’s fly-away skirts and hair; William seeming to be stressed every time he’s in a public ceremonial function; and the long retreats from public view to Anmer Hall. We are witnessing a royal couple who have finally found their footing.
I am sure Prince Charles and the Queen are good role models, but sometimes talking to and observing someone of your own age group in the same position – like Haakon and Victoria – are helpful. Even King Felipe of Spain, though he is several years older than William, has lived as an heir in the public eye, and he also married a commoner who has had to adjust to royal life. Taking in any advice or wisdom from these fellow heirs and crowned heads can only serve to help both William and Kate in the long run. Here’s to many more years of great public work from the Cambridges.
The Dutch state visit to Denmark is happening, and I love it.
Like me, you probably love to see royals hanging out together. It was great seeing Marie of Denmark and Letizia of Spain chatting during the Olympics, along with Mette-Marit of Norway sitting alongside Guillaume of Luxembourg. It’s great!
So this Dutch state visit to Denmark this week has been nothing short of spectacular. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima make their official visit to strengthen the relations between Denmark and the Netherlands, says the Danish Foreign Ministry. Following the official welcome by Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik at Copenhagen Airport, the Dutch royal couple began their visit at Fredensborg Palace. The Dutch King and Queen then met with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen.
Queen Margrethe held a State Banquet Tuesday evening for her visitors and the royal women wore their shiny finest. Maxima, however, was the best.
Impressing the heck out of all concerned, Maxima was swathed in her delicate blue lace gown and Dutch Sapphire tiara. She wore both for Willem-Alexander’s investiture as king, and I’m so glad she brought both back for this occasion. In fact, she made the tiara slightly taller by adding a diamond sprig at the top (as if it needed embellishment!).
It is fantastic to see these major royals all together. I hope for more visits like this between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and fellow crowned heads in the future! Britain often seems far removed from their European counterparts, save for Edward and Sophie (the Earl and Countess of Wessex). So let’s hope the Cambridges get to the Continent and then little Prince George will perhaps see his royal compatriots more often than not (George and Estelle = yes)!
People from around the world joined the survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp today on the 70th anniversary of its liberation.
Among the attendees at the ceremony were King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands; Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden; Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
Continuing on their introductory tour, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will be visiting Spain on September 18th.
The new Dutch King and Queen will fly to Madrid and meet with Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain at Zarzuela Palace. They will also lunch with Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Asturias.
After their trip to Spain, King Willam-Alexander and Queen Maxima will visit Norway on October 2nd and Sweden on October 14th.
Previously, Willem-Alexander and Maxima last met with the Spanish royals during the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome.
The newlywed procession via carriage to the docked boat was magnificent! Madeleine and Chris left the Royal Palace of Stockholm in their carriage to the waiting boat, where they, along with their guests, sailed down the river to Drottningholm Palace. There will be a gala dinner celebrating the wedding, which will cap off a fairytale day! [Click images to enlarge. All images are screencaps from SVT]
Leaving the Royal Palace of Stockholm:
Greeting the crowds:
To prove that Americans are not interested only in the British Royal Family, here’s some news: Prince Harry is not the only royal in the U.S. lately!
Do I need to fetch the smelling salts?
Their Majesties King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden have also been paying a visit to the states. They stopped in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a brief to the American Swedish Historical Museum and some of our famous national monuments at the Independence National Historical Park.
The royal couple moved on to Delaware to celebrate the first Swedish settlement in the USA.
Their Norwegian cousins, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit have also been here, their journey taking them west to Texas and California.
Mette-Marit and her husband visited the Offshore Technology conference, toured the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in San Francisco, and the Crown Prince gave a talk at a seminar about tourism in San Francisco, hosted by Innovation Norway. Their visit has primarily focused on promoting Norwegian innovation.